Gout is a condition which causes inflammation of the joints. People with gout experience sudden and severe attacks of pain and swelling in their joints, such as ankles, knees and fingers. Fortunately, gout can be controlled with medication, diet and lifestyle changes.
Once upon a time, gout was known as a rich man’s disease. This was mostly due to the fact that only the wealthy and well-to-do could afford to eat meat. Furthermore, this class of society would likely have been less physically active than the poorer folk. As a result of their meat rich diet which was high in purines, uric acid would accumulate at the joints resulting in symptoms including swollen inflamed legs and shooting pain when pressure was applied.
What is Uric Acid?
Uric acid is a waste product from eating ingredients that contain purines, a natural substance found in food. Food high in purines include red meat, internal organs and certain seafood such as salmon and crabs.
Normally, your body filters out uric acid through your kidneys and is expelled through urine. However, if you consume too much purine and your body can’t get rid of the by-product efficiently, this leads to gout. It is basically a high build-up of uric acid (hyperuricemia) which usually collects at joints such as fingers, knees and ankles.
Eating More Vegetables to Keep Gout in Check
Luckily, gout can be controlled with medication, lifestyle changes and avoiding foods with high purine levels. One exception to the negative affects of high purines are vegetables. Research shows that high-purine vegetables do not trigger gout attacks. Thus, a gout-friendly diet includes fruits, lots of vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, dairy products and eggs.
If you’re looking for gout friendly recipes to cook, there are plenty of vegetarian recipes to try. In the meantime, here’s a Vietnamese inspired vegetarian spring roll recipe to get started. Not only is it healthy and delicious, this recipe also happens to be super easy to put together.
a) Peanut Dipping Sauce
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons onions, sliced coarsely
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 cup water
b) Fresh Spring Roll
- 9 pieces of lettuce leaves, washed
- 9 pieces of rice paper skin
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced into strips of about 4-inches long
- 1 small carrot, sliced into strips of about 4-inches long
- 1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/4 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/4 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup coriander leaves
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- 100 gm pack rice vermicelli noodles, soaked and cooked
- 2 eggs, fried omelet-style then rolled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted until slightly brown
a) Peanut Dipping Sauce
- In a pan, heat the oil and add the coarsely sliced onions. Fry until onions are tender and slightly browned.
- Add water, light soy sauce and peanut butter. Stir well.
- Let the sauce simmer and thicken before you turn off the heat.
b) Fresh Spring Roll
- In a large dinner plate, pour a little warm water. Fully submerge the rice paper skin before removing and transferring to a clean surface.
- Place 1 piece of lettuce leaf in the center of the rice paper skin, followed by a little rice vermicelli noodles, 3 slices of cucumber, 3 slices of carrot, a mixture of bell pepper slices, a little coriander and basil.
- Top with a few slices of egg and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
- Fold one side of the rice paper skin over the ingredients you have just laid out and tuck it in.
- Then fold both sides of the rice paper and roll forward.
- Repeat steps 1-3.
If you’re just looking for simple home remedies, you may not need to look further than the common ingredients available in your own kitchen. Following are some concoctions which may help to alleviate the symptoms of gout. As a precaution, check with a medical practitioner before attempting any of these remedies particularly if you have other existing conditions such as high blood pressure.
- Apple Cider
Apple cider vinegar can not only relieve the initial symptoms of gout but also relieves headaches and pain due to arthritis. Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with a little honey in a glass of water. The apple cider vinegar works to neutralize uric acid in the body.
Cucumber juice helps reduce uric acid. Studies have shown that cucumber can lower body temperature and is also able to relieve pain in the joints. For gout relief, thinly slice the cucumber and apply to the affected area. Leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing the area with warm water.
Did you know, the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger can alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Ginger warms the body and can help relieve pain from gout. Mix ginger and turmeric with warm water. Drink twice a day consistently to see positive results.
Alternatively, you can add ginger to hot water to remove toxins and wind in your body. If you want quick relief, try mixing ginger powder with a little water to create a paste. Rub it on the sore area and leave it on for half an hour before rinsing.
- Lemon Juice
Lemon juice can neutralize uric acid. Try mixing the juice from 1 lemon with half a teaspoon of baking powder. Wait for a few seconds until the hissing sound disappears before pouring in a little water. Stir and drink.
- Baking Powder
Baking powder is said to be an effective ingredient for relieving the early symptoms of gout but should only be used if you do not have high blood pressure. Mix half a teaspoon of baking powder with a glass of water. Drink this formula four times a day for 2 weeks consistently if you are experiencing the early signs of gout. However, anyone over the age of 60 years old is advised to practice this tip only 2 times a day.
Fans of bananas rejoice because bananas are among the best fruits to consume to relieve gout. The high calcium content of bananas is able to dissolve acid crystals which then can move out of the body through the excretory system. Vitamin C in bananas can also reduce swelling and pain in the affected area. Eat a banana with a little yogurt to speed up the acid secretion process in the body.
To relieve gout, add celery juice to your diet. Celery is rich with antioxidants and polysaccharides which can help relieve pain and inflammation.
What You Eat Matters
With all the remedies listed above, you can do your own gout treatment at home at very little cost. However, please seek medical advice before trying any of these tips to prevent any side effects from occurring, particularly if you have other existing conditions.
The most important thing you need to do to prevent gout or relieve the symptoms of gout, is to watch your diet, especially limiting your intake of high purine foods. This is especially important as we all age. For more tips, check out Pulse by Prudential. We must all remember to take care of our diet and keep ourselves healthy. After all, prevention is always better than cure.